Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB), formerly known as Facebook, could soon open retail stores as it expands upon its vision to dominate the metaverse. In this segment of Backstage Pass, recorded on Nov. 5, Fool contributors Toby Bordelon, Vicki Hutchison, and Rachel Warren discuss whether they would visit a Meta retail store.
Toby Bordelon: We got rumors this morning suggesting that Facebook, which I guess I now need to call Meta Platforms, we’re going to review that. They came about opening up retail stores. Facebook retail stores might not make a lot of sense.
But I think the idea here is they want to showcase devices made by the Reality Labs division, talking with the Metaverse, we’re talking headsets, we’re talking suits maybe. We don’t even have some of the stuff yet, so who knows what it’s going to look like.
I saw one story that said the stores are intended to spark emotions like curiosity and closeness, and a sense of feeling welcomed while experiencing with these headsets in a judgment-free journey.
Sure, that sounds to me more like a therapist’s office in an electronics store, but go with what works, I guess, MetaMarketers. Here’s a question.
Would you go to Meta store if they open this up? This is the Meta store. Would you go there? What would you want to buy there? If not, is there one other company you want to see that’s maybe online? What company do you want to see open up retail stores that you might be interested in? What about you, Vicki?
Vicki Hutchison: I’m not much into the retail experience in the first place. Anytime I can get something on e-commerce, I prefer that, Amazon, Chewy. I do go to the grocery store, but that’s just because I like to pick my own melons.
I’m also not a real early buyer of electronics, funny coming from someone in the tech field, [laughs] but I’m not. But for me, I would want to go to a store if I was going to fork out the kind of dollars we’re likely talking for their devices.
I could see going there to see the demo in-person, touch, and feel it, much like you would if you went to a tech show. Maybe the electronic tech show in Las Vegas is another place to go see such a thing.
But also, what if it doesn’t work, and I don’t know about you, but sometimes the AI leaves a lot to be desired when something isn’t working.
In the spirit of an Apple store where you take your device and you say, “It fell in the toilet, now what?” I think there is something to be said for having that last-ditch place you go where you really need to talk to a person.
Rachel Warren: It’s so funny because of all the things that Facebook, which I have to get used to calling Meta, [laughs] could do, this surprised me. I can’t really think of a reason why I would go to a Meta store except just total curiosity of what it would look like, what kind of gadgets they would have, and I feel like that is.
Toby Bordelon: But that’s exactly the thing. Right, Rachel? It’s supposed to spark curiosity.
Rachel Warren: I feel like that would be my response.
Toby Bordelon: There you go.
Rachel Warren: That’s it, it works. The marketing works. [laughs] It works. I would be very, very curious. I’m not really sure if I could see myself buying anything there like a virtual reality headset.
I could totally see myself testing it out. But obviously, there’s a market for that. I think that it would draw a lot of people that just want to see what does the store has to offer and maybe want to try out or try one some of the gadgets.
I don’t know how much of a demand there is for something like this. But I would say that you think of all the success that Facebook has had, in essentially, whatever business venture it’s tried regardless of whatever firestorm it’s facing at the moment.
It’s very possible that this could be a success for them as well. I would definitely go check it out.
I was thinking about it. There was an online company I’d like to see open retail stores and this may be a weird answer, but I would love it if Etsy did pop-up stores.
Obviously, Etsy has so many different sellers from all over the world on their platform, so it wouldn’t make a lot of sense that they were probably having a one specific store. But I like the idea of having pop-up shop, like you’ll see some of these brands do that would showcase perhaps some of the top-selling products from sellers all over the world.
I feel like that could be a really cool thing and I would also go to that. But, yeah, I shop on and see a lot, so maybe it’s just me. [laughs] I think that would be fun.
Toby Bordelon: That would be interesting. Although some people would say that we have Etsy, like pop-up stores already. They’re called flea markets.
Rachel Warren: That’s true:
Toby Bordelon: Yeah. But I mean, you can see that. I see Etsy maybe doing that in local areas. That’ll be fun especially on Christmas, like the holidays when people are looking for this sort of stuff. Yeah.
Rachel Warren: Absolutely.
Toby Bordelon: I don’t know why I would necessarily need to go to a Meta store or why I should need to. I feel that’s the whole point. If we’re talking about getting into this virtual metaverse, I don’t know that having me go to a physical store is really necessary.
I can see if it makes sense. I can see it makes sense initially, try to get people used to the stuff and the equipment that might be necessary for this. If you turn it into it’s like an Oculus Arcades, where you go and play games in VR, maybe that would be really interesting.
In terms of what other companies I’d like to see open a store. I’m going with that theme, the gaming thing. I would love to see Microsoft reverse course.
They shut down their retail stores in the process of that. I’d like to see them bringing back, they go with more of an Xbox theme.
You can combine that with some AR stuff too, the HoloLens turns like a cafe or a bar/arcade. In-person entertainment place to gather, that’d be cool. I’d go to that. I would definitely go to that.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.
Rachel Warren owns shares of Amazon, Apple, and Etsy. Toby Bordelon owns shares of Amazon, Apple, Chewy, Inc., and Microsoft and has the following options: short January 2022 $55 puts on Chewy, Inc. Vicki Hutchison owns shares of Amazon, Etsy, and Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Apple, Chewy, Inc., Etsy, Meta Platforms, Inc., and Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon, long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple, short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon, and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.